(We can always customize this program by adding more sights in both Turkey and Greece, or providing extra nights at any destination. According to time of the year, some changes may occur in this program.)
Saturday - Day 1 - Arrival in Athens
KALOS ORISATE! Welcome to Greece! We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Athens on your own.
Overnight in Athens
Sunday - Day 2 - Athens - (B)
After breakfast around 8:30 AM, we will meet you at your hotel for your guided tour of Athens.
You will explore Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathinaiko Stadium (where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896). After that, we will drive by the Prime's Minister's residence, the Royal Palace, (guarded by colorful Evzones), Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Schlieman's House (Numismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, Russian Orthodox Church
At the ACROPOLIS, you will visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and the Museum of the Acropolis.
In the early afternoon, we will provide a transfer to your hotel, or we can also drop you off at the Plaka so you can wander and explore. Overnight in Athens
Monday - Day 3 - Athens to Santorini - (B)
You have a free day to explore Santorini on your own. Many take this opportunity to relax and tan on one of Santorini’s famous beaches, such as Red Beach, or return for more sightseeing in Oia. Overnight in Santorini
Tuesday - Day 4 - Santorini - (B)
After breakfast, we will take you on a full-day tour of Santorini. You will visit Acrotiri, go on a boat trip to view the caldera, visit hot springs, view the ruins of Thirrassia, and wrap up the day watching the romantic sunset from Oia. Afterwards, you will be taken back to your hotel. Overnight in Santorini
Wednesday - Day 5 - Santorini to Rhodes then Kusadasi - (B)
After breakfast, you will have a full free day to relax and explore Santorini on your own. Many take this opportunity to relax and tan on one of Santorini's famous beaches, such as Red Beach, or return for some more sightseeing in Oia
Around midnight you will be transfered to Santorini Harbor where you'll board an overnight ferry from Santorini to Rhodes (Rodos) Island. Overnight onboard
Thursday - Day 6 - Rhodes to Marmaris then to Kusadasi - (B/D)
You'll arrive early in the morning in Rhodes, whereupon you'll change ferries for Marmaris. In Marmaris, upon your arrival, you will then be transfered to Kusadasi, where you will check into your hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi
Friday - Day 7 - Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
Very early in the morning, we'll transfer you to the domestic airport for the 1-hour flight to Izmir, whereupon you'll then be transferred to Ephesus for your comprehensive full-day tour of some of Turkey's most impressive Roman and Biblical sites.
*Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000. During your visit, you’ll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
*The Temple of Artemis is situated in serene countryside celebrates the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. This temple, known as Artemision in Greek times, was the largest of its kind at the world.
*The House of The Virgin Mary, (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life. Masses are held here on Sundays.
Overnight in Kusadasi
Saturday - Day 8 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will depart from Kusadasi to Pamukkale; upon arrival we will continue on the guided tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis. Our drive will take us through a rich agricultural area that's teeming with cotton fields and fruit orchards.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish) is the result of limestone formations created over thousands of years. Warm, calcium-rich mineral water from nearby thermal hot springs flowed over these cliffs and, as these waters cooled, they deposited the calcium that we see today.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Over time, the city hosted large numbers of both Jewish and Christian residents. Overnight in Pamukkale
Sunday - Day 9 - Pamukkale to Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will depart Pamukkale and drive to Cappadocia, stopping to visit the Mevlana Museum in Konya. (Note: not a guided tour.)
* The architecturally-beautiful Mevlana Museum is a holy site for Muslims as it was the former lodge for the whirling dervishes.
In the afternoon, we will provide a transfer to Cappadocia; you will then check-in at the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax and explore Cappadocia on your own. Overnight in Urgup - Cappadocia
Monday - Day 10 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
As we have a lengthy drive to our first destination, we'll be starting out quite early this morning. Today, we'll stroll through an amazing subterranean city where ancient Christians once hid from Arab invaders; we'll then wander through the Ihlara Gorge and spend time in a classic Anatolian village.
* Underground City of Derinkuyu--You'll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (Don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) Youll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
* Ihlara Gorge is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore the canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll casually alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks; the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the mustachioed, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play. Overnight in URGUP - Cappadocia
Tuesday - Day 11 - Cappadocia to Istanbul - (B/L)
Sites you'll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
We'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery.
After the tour, we'll provide a transfer to Nevsehir Airport for your 1hour flight back to Istanbul. After your arrival, we will take you to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Wednesday - Day 12 - Istanbul - (B/L)
After breakfast, at around 8:30 am, we will meet you at your hotel and take you on your full-day Istanbul tour.
Sites you'll see today:
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.
* Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), the residence and administrative center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire, was constructed in 1459-1465 shortly after the establishment of Constantinople. You'll see the Treasury that houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat Spoon Maker's Diamond, and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi - covered bazaar) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily.
The grand bazaar began construction in 1455 and opened in 1461. It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by the type of goods they sell, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry, textiles, and the like.
Today, the grand bazaar houses two mosques, two hamams, four fountains, and multiple restaurants and cafes. The sprawling complex consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 doors. After our tour, we'll return you to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
Thursday - Day 13 - Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast, we'll commence on our half-day tour of more of Istanbul's famous sites.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia; along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
After the cruise, we can take you back to the Grand Bazaar for more exploring and souvenir shopping. Overnight in Istanbul
Friday - Day 14 - Istanbul to Home
Gule gule! Good bye! It's time to head home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey in your hearts, and hope that our paths cross again.
Prices are starting from 1685 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels (each of them individually-chosen)
* All land transfers with comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Athens to Santorini
* Ferry tickets from Santorini to Rhodes
* Ferry tickets from Rhodes to Marmaris
* Domestic flight tickets from Cappadocia to Istanbul
* Admissions to Acropolis, Parthenon, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Gallipoli Museum, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and sites in Cappadocia
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul
* Drinks with meals
* Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia (15% off if booked with this tour)
(NOTE: This is a fully-customizable program and is available all year round. If you are interested in obtaining more information about early booking, cash-paying discounts, hotel names (and web sites), or daily departure times, simply send us your e-mail inquiry, letting us know the dates you wish to travel, and we'll get back with you soon.
You may also choose to extend your stay by adding-on such destinations Fethye, Bodrum, etc., in order to fit your time and travel interests.)
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